When you visit the beautiful island of Cyprus for more than a couple of days, no one cannot help but noticing the abundance of cats which seem to just pop out of anywhere and be everywhere and indeed many parts of the island are practically run with feral kitties.
In 327, the ship on which Elena traveled, the mother of August of Constantine the Great, fell in a storm not far from Cyprus. Elena in prayers asked God to save their ship from destruction and made a vow to found a monastery if the outcome was successful. As a result, the vessel still reached the nearest shore, and Elena went ashore in one of the hilly places of the Akrotiri peninsula, where she founded a few months later the St. Nicholas friary.
In those days, a terrible drought raged in Cyprus, destroying all living things for 17 years in a row. Because of the terrible heat everywhere a lot of snakes divorced. Deciding to stop the snake dominance, Elena ordered to bring as many cats as possible to the island from Asia Minor and Egypt. After a few years, thousands of meowing settlers managed to clear Cyprus of snakes.
There is also an interesting mention of the domestication of cats in Cyprus, confirmed by archaeological evidence: during one of the excavations, a joint burial of a man and a cat, dated VII-VIII century BC, was found. e.
Despite hostility from some of the Cypriot population, cats are also widely kept as household pets in Cyprus and you can generally tell by looking which ones have owners and homes, as a common custom in Cyprus is to clip the corner of a cat’s ear to indicate that it is a household pet and has been spayed (thus reducing the chance of someone’s beloved pet becoming the victim of a cull). Cyprus has an island-wide animal management program which, unfortunately relies mainly on public donation to maintain. This provides basic healthcare to Cyprus’ cats and helps to fund the island-wide spaying initiative which helps to keep cat numbers somewhat lower than they would otherwise be.
A variety of themed souvenirs with images of cats are sold in shops and shops — colorful postcards, wall calendars, bags and backpacks, kitchen utensils, figurines, and much more. Take home a piece of summer with you, a special atmosphere of Cyprus and wonderful memories!